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Q3K107 English Literary Studies MA Postgraduate Taught  2017


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 02/10/2017
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 2500

Course Content


Our taught MA provision offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary crime narrative. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programmes offer up-to-date training in research methods and skills and a wide selection of literature modules from which you choose three; you will also write a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to follow up particular interests by studying a named pathway, or to designate your own area of study within the broad MA in English Literary Studies, tailoring an individual programme based on period, theme or genre.

An MA in English is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take one of the named pathways, you will be expected to select two modules from those available within a pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to your named pathway. You need not confine your choices to a named pathway, as on the broad MA in English Literary Studies you may choose any three from the full list of modules on offer if you prefer. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules

  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • Old Norse
  • Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies
  • Old English Language, Texts and Contexts
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Middle English Manuscripts and Texts
  • Issues in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Renaissance Tragedy
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • Lyric Poetry of the English Renaissance and Reformation
  • John Milton: Life, Works and Influence
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Reflections on Revolution, 1789-1922
  • Second-Generation Romantic Poetry
  • Romantic Forms of Grief
  • Elegy: From John Milton to Seamus Heaney
  • Women in Victorian Poetry and Painting
  • Thinking with Things in Victorian Literature
  • Literary Masculinity at the Fin-de-Siècle
  • The Literatures of Slavery
  • Literature of the Supernatural
  • Modernism and Touch
  • S. Eliot
  • Representing the Self: From Sophocles to the Sopranos
  • Post-War British Drama
  • Modern Poetry
  • The Contemporary US Novel
  • Blood and Soil: Regionalism and Contemporary US Crime Narrative
  • Short Fiction Today
  • Reading As A Writer: The Seminar
  • The Writing of Poetry.

Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more than twenty of the above will run in any one year.

Click for more detail on individual modules

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules as well as to provide a personal statement.

Course Learning and Teaching

One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 optional modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating 18 hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities. Assessment for these modules is usually by coursework essay.

All students also register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of contact time over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of assessed written work for the Research Methods and Resources module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.

Each MA student is assigned an Academic Advisor who can guide and support her or his progress during the programme of study.

Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond. 

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

You will normally require an English or English-related Honours degree (at least a 2:1 or equivalent) from a recognised university.

Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to provide a personal statement.

In addition to your three module choices, you will also need to include a piece of written work of approximately 2,000 words in length on a literary subject. This can be any piece of literary-critical work you have completed recently and may be emailed direct to the Department if you wish (

We welcome applications from holders of international qualifications. For advice on the equivalency of international qualifications, please contact our International Office.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £6,900.00
Home Student £6,900.00
Island Student £6,900.00
International non-EU Student £16,500.00

Part Time Fees

EU Student £3,800.00
Home Student £3,800.00
Island Student £3,800.00
International non-EU Student £9,100.00

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of English Studies

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our web pages.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of English Studies


The English Studies Department provides a studious, dynamic and supportive environment in which to undertake a postgraduate degree and offers the most up-to-date training in methods and skills. Students in English Studies can choose specialised topics across the whole range of subject area from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day and our academic staff produce research of the highest international calibre.

The Department’s work ethos is that teaching and research should complement one another at all levels of academic enquiry. We strive to connect with both the local community and a global network of students, scholars, artists and professionals. Our postgraduates are an important and integral part of our research community and we place an extremely high value on the contribution which they make to the department.


Ranked 3rd in the UK for Internationally Excellent and World-Leading research and joint 1st for research environment in REF 2014.


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